Why the Metal Gear Solid Movie Sends Me Into “Alert Mode”
Steam rises off of the frigid Alaskan water. The boots of the genome soldiers resonate dully off of the corrugated steel shipping crates lining the walls of the docks. Suddenly, the water stirs. The inverse meniscus of a head crowns above the surface, and a figure silently emerges. Solid Snake deftly maneuvers his way through the enemy-patrolled docks, evading detection like a shadow as he boards a cargo elevator. As it begins its ascent to the surface, he strips out of his now-superfluous diving gear, peeling back his rebreather mask to reveal the face of…
With the “announcement” “confirming” the Metal Gear Solid “movie,” this sort of thing is a very real possibility. Now I know what you’re thinking – “a Metal Gear movie would be awesome!” – and it’s understandable why you’d think that. But there are two arguments that constantly get thrown in my face RE: this topic specifically that I think, short of justifying the existence of a Metal Gear Solid movie actually further condemn it as a terrible idea.
1. “Metal Gear is ‘basically’ a movie anyways”
People seem to be incredibly fond of pointing to the prolific, cinematic-length cutscenes omnipresent in the Metal Gear Solid series as some sort of proof-of-concept of a cinematized version of the series. The argument is that the games are practically halfway to a movie anyways, so taking the leap and actually straight up filming the damn thing doesn’t seem like a stretch.
These people are wrong.
While the MGS series certainly has some cinematic aspects, it is still very much a game; just explaining the nuances of the plot alone has taken four AAA titles, each running around 12 hours of playtime. And that’s without any of the characterization or development of setting that you get naturally just through the act of playing. People seem to assume with the MGS series that the playable sections just link the cutscenes together. Not only are these people not an authority on what would or wouldn’t make a good movie, they probably should stop playing games, too.
2. “If David Hayter doesn’t play Snake I’ll be pissed”
Yes, we all know that David Hayter has given one of the most recognizable and beloved performances in recent videogame voice acting as Solid Snake, with his trademark low growl and disaffected world-weariness defining the character just as much as the bandana and sneaking suit. But voicing him in a game is one thing, and playing him in a movie is something totally different.
The key point here is that these characters already have established identities in our imaginations. Yes, some Hollywood actors might make a passable Solid Snake, but none of them are as good as the Solid Snake that exists in my mind, courtesy of David Hayter’s irreplaceable voice and my own imagination. The best we’d get from a movie is a cheesy simulacrum that would just feel all wrong. The fact that this statement is repeatedly thrown at me indicates that you agree, too.
Don’t get me wrong; I love Metal Gear Solid as much as the next guy (probably more, in a lot of cases). That’s why I can’t view this “movie”* as anything other than a giant facepalm waiting to happen. In conclusion, I’ll leave you with this to ruminate on:
*Note: an announcement made for a Hollywood movie with no cast or crew determined is the rich movie producer equivalent of getting drunk in a bar with your friends and saying “dude, you know what would be TOTALLY AWESOME??!”, and has about the same level of credibility. Time will tell if this “project” ever sees the light of day.